Made in Lancashire case study

Local talent: Ben Dale

Ben, 27, has a Master’s in Chemistry from Lancaster University and lives in Lancaster with his wife Laura and two children, Emilia, four and Gabriela, one.

He joined the IN4.0 talent academy and supported BAE Systems with its Factory of the Future project, which gave him a valuable insight into the advanced manufacturing and technology sector. Prior to the academy, the dad of two felt the stress and pressure of looking for a job during the pandemic and planning out his career path after completing his degree.

Ben said: “I’ve got a young family and I wanted to settle down in a stable career in Lancashire, so the digital sector seemed like a safe area to be in, particularly after the impact of Covid-19, there’s still a huge demand for it.”

“I’ve always been interested in a digital career, but I didn’t really have the skills or the background to pursue it. My confidence was boosted by the academy, the AWS qualification and IN4.0’s strong industry connections through my placement with BAE Systems, have led me to the job that I’ve now got with Inscape.”

“Without IN4.0’s support, I think I would still struggle to get the kind of job in data and cloud computing that I wanted. Moving into a digital career was made possible by IN4.0 and has helped me to get a job I really want.”

Local Collaboration

The IN4.0 talent academy is supported by the Fast Track Fund, in partnership with the Department for Culture Media & Sport (DCMS), the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Alongside the academy, IN4.0 has a ground-breaking joint venture business with the University of Central Lancashire, dedicated to enabling industrial digital technology adoption by upskilling manufacturing and engineering teams through IN4.0 Access, a disruptive innovation applied learning accelerator.

Having previously partnered on IN4.0 Access, BAE Systems based at Samlesbury Lancashire, is providing significant sponsorship in support of the academy which is nurturing 150 local graduates each year into Junior Cloud Engineers, accredited by The Institution of Engineering and Technology and Amazon Web Services.

Prof Andy Schofield, Technology Delivery Director at BAE Systems, said: “Ultimately, the IN4.0 talent academy is part of a series of initiatives all focused on delivering benefits for the North and building capabilities fit for the next century.”

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, said: “Being Lancashire born and bred, I made a commitment to nurture local talent and activate the spirit of collaboration to enable local manufacturers like Inscape to adopt digital technology, and this mission has created a perfect storm, illustrating the power of Lancashire.”

“This is the perfect example of how collaborations between universities, SMEs, large enterprise, government investment and local talent can really make a difference and drive digital transformation in the region.”

“I’m really proud of how the IN4.0 team and our partners have come together to support incredible local graduates like Ben on their journey into employment and ambitions for a career as cloud and digital engineers.”

“Ben will be further accelerating digital transformation for an SME manufacturing business that is not only going to increase its productivity but will further help Lancashire in its economic prosperity.”

Local employer: Inscape Interiors

Inscape Interiors, based in Chorley, Lancashire, is a manufacturing joinery company with over 25 years of experience working in the commercial construction industry.

As part of the IN4.0 talent academy, graduate engineers undertake commercial projects with North West employers, and work on digital manufacturing projects to drive digital transformation within businesses such as Inscape.

Following the successful delivery of projects, Inscape has hired academy graduate Ben Dale as Technology Administrator.

IN4.0’s specialist digital skills training programme works like a bridge to connect Lancashire employers like Inscape with talented home-grown graduates such as Ben.

Digital manufacturing

Inscape has a proprietary software application within the business that has been developed over the last 15 years, but it has recently run into difficulties which they weren’t able to solve internally.

The software doesn’t use modern technology and it wasn’t scalable in the way that they wanted it to help the business grow.

Talent development

The IN4.0 talent graduates learnt about the software and gained an understanding of how Inscape wanted to use it within their business.

Paul Mills, Strategy Director of Inscape Interiors, said: “One of the difficulties that we’ve had, particularly as a small business, is that it’s very hard to understand the potential solutions that are available and with the graduates knowledge, we were able to very quickly identify some of the more technical issues with our software, the age of the languages and how we were developing it.

“The graduate engineers were able to propose solutions on how we could migrate existing software in stages across to AWS, in a way that we hadn’t even thought possible.

“We felt it was a very big problem that we had to solve, but actually the graduates and IN4.0 team allowed us to understand that we could run it alongside our existing software so we wouldn’t be at risk. If we hadn’t had that knowledge and expertise to help us through the process, then I think we would have really struggled.”

Commercial innovation

Paul said: “My experience of working with the IN4.0 talent academy has been excellent, they’ve been very collaborative and have people with a great deal of digital experience, who have helped us make significant progress as a business.

“Our relationship with IN4.0 has had a very significant impact on Inscape, we now know that there is a technology-based resource and expertise that’s very much on our doorstep which provides a whole range of services.

“IN4.0 can help us understand the problem, they can bring graduates to us through the talent academy and they can help propose solutions for our business.

“They have also helped guide us through the recruitment process and have found us Ben, a really talented graduate to join the Inscape team and drive forward our digital transformation.”

Get in touch

Our IN4.0 talent academy develops STEM graduates into highly skilled Junior Engineers who can provide instant project support. We have a range of flexible recruitment options available, including permanent recruitment and a contractor model.

Employers in the North West who are interested in accessing digital champions like Ben, to support the development of their businesses are welcome to get in touch with the IN4.0 team at:

The next academy intake for January 2021 is open to those aged 19-30 from Lancashire and Greater Manchester, who have been unemployed due to the pandemic and are looking to upskill in cloud engineering and data analytics. To apply, visit: